Summer at last!
Summer was always very exciting when I was a child. My family would set aside Wednesdays for trips to Conneaut Lake Park. Our favorite ride, which we went on again and again, was the Blue Streak. But mostly, our summer vacations were always spent outside playing with the neighborhood kids, bicycling, red rover, and games of croquet. We did not have video games to temp us into staying indoors, thank goodness!
Once Ryan was in school, the arrival of summertime meant: no more homework, “sleeping in” to 7am, and lots of opportunities to be outside. Ryan always was so happy to be outdoors after spending the last 9 months in school classrooms.
To be sure, I never knew who was more thrilled…Ryan or me!
Of course, there was my major concern: Would I be able to find someone to be with Ryan during the weekdays while I worked??
We had tried the usual camps (unsuccessfully, I might add!), so beginning in April, I would look for a college student who wanted a summer job. Usually the students were special education majors hoping for experience that they could include on their resumes.
This solution was a win-win, as it was great for Ryan because I would recruit a young man (who could be a peer), who had similar interests and liked to swim, play basketball, run, hike, and generally spend most of the day outdoors.
Summer is a wonderful time for all children, especially for children on the autism spectrum. There are increased opportunities to learn and practice their social skills and perhaps meet new friends, which often can be a challenge.
For Ryan, summer allowed him to practice skills that he had learned at school in various community environments. Exposure to a variety of settings as well as people also enabled him to expand his coping skills and work through his anxiety issues.
So what’s on the agenda for summer 2019? Golf, swimming, kayaking, and hiking—if only it warms up!